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USA 2008: The Great Depression [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-11-22 23:31:14 |Display all floors
More people homeless in NYC, LA

The population of homeless people in New York City and Los Angeles has increased by 13 percent and 27 percent, respectively, over the one-year period between January 2012 and January 2013.

Federal statistics from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual survey of over 3,000 cities and counties show the number of people living in emergency shelters and on streets in a number of major US cities, including New York and Los Angeles, has grown since January 2012.

According to the recent federal statistics, the overall number of homeless people across the US has fallen by 4 percent from 633,782 to 610,042; however, the story is different in some large cities.

On one night in January per locality, HUD field workers conduct the department’s annual survey by tallying the number of people living in shelters, transitional housing, and other locations like cars and abandoned buildings.

The data showed that almost a quarter of all homeless people in the US are under the age of 18.

Federal officials have said increases in the number of homeless Americans in major cities were driven by a jump in the number of households who could not afford to pay their rent any longer. Meanwhile, there has been a 43 percent increase since 2007 in the number of very poor renters, people who pay more than half of their income in rent.

New York’s mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has promised to deal with the issue by giving priority to homeless families for a portion of public housing apartments and rental subsidies. Blasio is to take office in January.

Nevertheless, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dennis P. Culhane, who helped direct the research in the federal report on homelessness, says the problem of homelessness in the US is expected to get worse before getting better.

Moreover, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has warned that further budget cuts by US Congress would compound the problem.

“We cannot balance our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society,” The New York Times quoted Donovan as saying. “It is simply wrong, but it’s also fiscally foolish.”
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Post time 2014-1-22 20:16:24 |Display all floors
Another bank bites the dust!


First US bank shut down of 2014

A lender bank in the state of Illinois has been shut down making it the first US bank failure of 2014.

The 123-year-old DuPage National Bank, West Chicago, Illinois was closed down on January 17 by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced that it has taken over DuPage National Bank.

DuPage National had $61.7 million in assets as of Sept. 30 while its deposits totaled $59.6 million. Established in 1891, the bank had survived the Great Depression the 1930s and two world wars. Bad loans have been cited as the reason for the final collapse of DuPage National.

The FDIC sold the bank to the Oak Brook-based Republic Bank of Chicago after it agreed to pay the FDIC a 1.2 percent premium. Republic Bank also agreed to purchase all of the failed bank's assets.

All three branches of DuPage National Bank will reopen as Republic Bank of Chicago branches. At the same time, DuPage National’s depositors automatically become depositors of Republic Bank.

The failure of DuPage National Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $1.6 million.

Around 500 US banks have failed since 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis. In 2007, only three banks went under. The figure jumped to 25 in 2008, after the financial meltdown, and ballooned to 140 in 2009.
The failures peaked in 2010 when 157 banks were shut down. The number of failed banks declined to 92 in 2011 and fell to 51 in 2012. In 2013, a total of 24 banks were shut down.

The FDIC has said it expects bank failures from 2012 through 2016 will cost the fund $10 billion.
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Post time 2014-1-23 04:52:07 |Display all floors
Silent misery: Actual US unemployment 37.2%, record number of households on food stamps in 2013

January 22, 2014

As the White House proclaims a recovery is occurring, and the stock market has a head of steam, millions of Americans and their dependents are being left out of the recovery, according to a set of economic indicators.

Perhaps the most worrying yet least reported aspect of the so-called US recovery involves the national labor picture. Although the official US unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, this figure obscures the reality, according to an influential Wall Street adviser.

In a leaked memo to clients, David John Marotta calculates the actual unemployment rate of Americans out of work at an astronomic 37.2 percent, as opposed to the 6.7 percent claimed by the Federal Reserve.

“The unemployment rate only describes people who are currently working or looking for work,” he said.

“Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning the portion of people who do not have any job, is 37.2 percent. This number obviously includes some people who are not or never plan to seek employment. But it does describe how many people are not able to, do not want to or cannot find a way to work,” he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their client report, which was leaked to the Washington Examiner.

Contrary to expectations, a drop in the unemployment rate, Marotta argues, is presently a sign that the unemployed are simply dropping out of the job market.

The “officially-reported unemployment numbers decrease when enough time passes to discourage the unemployed from looking for work,” said Marotta andRussel. “A decrease is not necessarily beneficial; an increase is clearly detrimental.”

The authors then take aim at the so-called Misery Index, which provides something of a pulse rate of American prosperity, based on unemployment and inflation. The Wall Street adviser said the Index, which he maintains is actually over 14, as opposed to the 8 advertised by Washington, fails to address how the US economy is being hugely subsidized by various schemes, including monthly bond purchases by the Federal Reserve.

“Today, the Misery Index would be 7.54 using official numbers,” the two analysts wrote. However, taking into consideration the full unemployment picture, including workers who have given up the job search, which is 10.2 percent, together with the historical method of calculating inflation, which is now 4.5 percent, ‘the current misery index is closer to 14.7.”

In food stamps we trust

Marotta’s findings, which put the actual US unemployment rate at over 37 percent, seem more credible when viewed alongside other indicators, including the number of Americans who now rely on government assistance to make ends meet.

It has just been reported that a record 20 percent of American households were receiving food stamps in 2013, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA data shows there were 23,052,388 households on food stamps in an average month of fiscal 2013, a jump of 722,675 from fiscal year 2012, when there were 22,329,713 households on food stamps per month on average.

Last year, according to data from the Census Bureau, there were 115,013,000 households. With 23,052,388 households – or 20 percent of the total number of households –now dependent on food stamps.

In just half a decade, the number of American households on food stamps has significantly increased. In fiscal year 2009, for example, the number of households receiving the government assistance program was 15,232,115. Five years later, in 2013, that number had surged by 51.3 percent to hit 23,052,388 households.

Meanwhile, the monthly average for individuals on food stamps hit an all-time-high of 47,636,084, according to the USDA. This is an increase of 1,027,012 over the 46,609,072 people who were getting food stamps in 2012.

In 2009, the number of individuals relying on the government program stood at 33,489,975. In 2013, the number was 47,636,084, an increase of 42.2 percent.

It should come as no surprise that spending on the US government’s food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has reached an all-time high.

Last year, SNAP cost $79,641,880,000 - a 164 percent increase over the past decade.

During the last five years, the SNAP program exploded by 36.8 percent, from $58,223,790,000 in 2009 to $79,641,880,000 in 2013.

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Post time 2014-1-23 19:25:57 |Display all floors
kowalski Post time: 2014-1-22 20:16
Another bank bites the dust!


Bankruptcy of US banks embarrassing

The bankruptcy and shutdown of hundreds of banks in the United States as a result of the 2007–2012 financial crisis is “embarrassing" for the country, a political commentator says.

The burden of compliance for small regional banks that were designed for large banks “result in theses embarrassing moments,” said Michael Burns, political and economic analyst in New York.

“After the problems of 2008 in which the Federal Reserve was compelled or at least urged by the banking community to fund these over-leveraged banks for their mischievous investments in toxic securities, there was a great effort in Washington to try to control the process of banks and their investments and their management of their resources,” Burns said. “This process and this initiative was directed at the large banks who had the resources to topple the American financial system, sort of known as the ‘too big to fail’ group.”

He further said, “The problem however is that when one places legislation with severe burdens on the banking system, there is a small segment of banks that fall out of the category but still by wording of the legislation are forced to comply with the rules and regulations.”

“And it’s these small banks having to place on their shoulders the burden of compliance with a law or a set of regulatory rules designed for a category of banking that their not a member of, results in these embarrassing moments.”

On January 17, the 123-year-old DuPage National Bank in West Chicago, Illinois was closed down by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Around 500 US banks have failed since 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis.

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Post time 2014-1-25 18:41:57 |Display all floors
US food banks warn against food stamp cuts

Jan 25, 2014

Food banks across the United States have warned against the consequences of cuts to the food stamp program on which about 47 million Americans depend to afford food.

On November 1, a $5 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the US took place when a temporary increase in food stamp dollar expired.

A household of three lost $29 in food aid per month as a result of the cuts that left each person to spend an average of $1.40 per meal.

Meanwhile, US lawmakers are set to pass a new multi-year farm bill that would cut $9 billion in funding for the food stamp program over the next ten years.

The cuts are a compromise between nearly $40 billion in cuts to the program approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a $4 billion reduction approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Food banks across the United States are facing an increase in the number of their visitors and say they have to turn people seeking help away because they do not have enough supplies.

“We are going to increase our efforts to get more donations and try to serve as many people as possible, given our resources,” said Nancy E. Roman, executive director at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.

“But make no mistake, if the food stamp program is cut, we’re going to see much longer lines of people seeking help with their food budgets, and we can’t help them all,” she added.

In a survey of 522 food pantries and 138 soup kitchens, the Food Bank for New York City also found that the pantries and kitchens saw an 85 percent increase in the number of their visitors in November compared to the same month the previous year. Meanwhile, 26 percent of the pantries said they had to turn their visitors away due to lack of supplies.

“Devastating cuts to [the SNAP] have pushed thousands of low-income New Yorkers and emergency food providers to the very brink of survival,” said Margarette Purvis, the president of the Food Bank for New York City, the largest food bank in the US.

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